Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Japanese Food Adventure - Day 7

Day 7 - A visit to the stunning Fushimi Inari-taisha, more eggs and a very strange drink.

 We were starting to get our heads around the currency, ¥1000 was roughly £6. The
¥1 coins were not accepted in machines and the ¥5 and ¥50 coins had a hole in the middle

We spotted these ekiben at the train station, they all looked great and cost less than £6. We decided we woukd pick one up on the way back for our dinner. First of all though we were off to visit  Fushimi Inari-taisha east of the city, we decided to walk there.

For breakfast today we had a savoury roll and sweet pastry, both ok but nothing to get too excited about really.

 The ram shackled buildings we spotted whilst walking through Kyoto were quite something.

 We spotted umbrellas everywhere and according to the weather we would be needing one later today. Up to this point it hadn't rained since arriving in Japan, quite lucky really considering it was the end of monsoon season.

I had no idea that Volkswagen made bikes too!

You never have to walk very far before coming across another drinks vending machine, they seem to be everywhere.

We kept spotting these elephants outside pharmacies.

These back street restaurants away from the tourist areas are said to be a good option at lunchtime. They will offer a set lunch menu at a good price, many locals eat at these places and a sign of a good one is said to be if you can hear the sound of slurping inside.

This sign confirmed we had reached our destination. Fushimi Inari-taisha is the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometres. It had looked really impressive in the guide books and had been voted the number one place to visit in Japan by Trip Advisor.

This was the perfect spot to sit and eat breakfast before heading up the mountain.

A Torii is a traditional Japanese gate found at the entrance of a shintro shrine. As soon as we passed this one we entered a fascinating and breathtaking place that I will never forget.

 This place was amazing and not as busy as we had been expecting which made it feel even more special.

 This was the starting point of our journey up the mountain.

Literally thousands of Torii arches covered the pathways, walking through them was an amazing experience. The fact there were very few people about was an added bonus, we expected these paths to be full of visitors, we had arrived early though which turned out to be a wise move.

You could write a wish on a fox here.

This was where people cleanse themselves before entering a shrine.

Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds.  

We headed off the beaten track and discovered some quite eerie places.

There were statues everywhere.

And plenty more foxes.

 I was quite surprised to find a vending machine here.

This was the strangest soft drink I have ever experienced! A bubblegum flavoured drink with a jelly like texture containing small pieces of fruit and marshmallow cubes. The texture took some getting ysed to but I really liked it, my wife didn't share my enthusiasm for it though.

 We walked for a long time along here, trees lined one side and bamboo groves the other side, a very peaceful place.

We eventually came across more torii arches and were back on the main path again.

This restaurant was a welcome sight as we were getting hungry so we decided to stop for some lunch.

We ordered some thick noodles with tofu and a beer, some green tea arrived too.

The tofu is said to be a favourite food of the foxes. I liked it and the thick noodles in a fish based broth were really tasty too.

 Next we spotted this sign, time for an ice cream then!

I wanted the best of both worlds so went for a vanilla soya bean flour mix.

 The journey was getting much steeper as we approached the top of the mountain, we had been walking now for hours in this amazing place.

 After leaving the top of the mountain we spotted this shop on the way down, time for a short rest.

 We made our short rest more exciting by buying some biscuits, a nice crunchy texture with icing drizzled over the top of them, they didn't last long.

The man running this place brought us some green tea. We went to pay him for this before leaving but he wouldn't accept any money from us, a very kind chap!

Further down the steps we spotted another rest area, something had caught our eye though so we stopped.

 Hot boiled eggs.

We paid just  ¥160 for 2 eggs and 2 teas, a bargain and excellent eggs!

  This was the most amazing place I had ever walked around in my life, so peaceful, relaxing and beautiful.

At the half way point Kyoto could be seen in the distance below.

 My wife was delighted to see so many friendly cats.

 Match Pink was quite fruity from what I remember.

 As we passed this frog we were pretty much at the bottom of the mountain again.

This chap was selling fish shaped waffles with sweet fillings.

We chose a banana and cream filling with caramel sauce, quite messy to eat but really delicious.

As we got closer to the hotel we decided to go up Kyoto Tower.

 The viewing tower was 100 metres high and offered amazing views across the city in every direction.

 I could see the mountain in the distance we had walked up today.

 The binoculars gave an even better view of everything, the statue in the distance was huge!

We stopped off at the train station to pick up an ekiben to eat at the hotel.

This one had a good selection of rice, prawns and veg in tempura batter and salads. There was even half a boiled egg, nice! 

Tonights sweet treat was chocolate cookies with a chocolate sauce filling, we loved these!

Click here for Day 8
The bamboo groves of Kyoto, feeding the monkeys and arriving in Osaka

1 comment:

  1. I wish we had a western version of Ekiben, that looks lovely.